Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches” online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock.”
The folks at BookRide, the blog of London’s beloved antiquarian bookstore Any Amount Books, have published a handy set of guidelines for curmudgeonly booksellers. When Kyo Maclear visited The Monkey’s Paw in Toronto, it would seem that they had yet to stumble upon this code of curmudgeonly conduct.
He befriended Mark Twain. His father wrote The Scarlet Letter. He drank wine with Oscar Wilde, George Eliot and Henry James, and William Randolph Hearst once hired him as a reporter. He even published a few books to critical acclaim. So why do so few of us know anything about Julian Hawthorne? In the WaPo, Michael Dirda reviews a new biography. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
“We have all heard the claim, ‘the victors write the textbooks.’ Among the many ways to unpack the phrase is this: that once upon a time history was bound to and relied on communally agreed upon facts. That is to say, there was not a culture of record the way there is now. There were not cameras and photographs capturing all human movement or digital archives where information was stored in ‘clouds.’ While our methods for remembering have evolved, the ethical question at the heart of recollection remains: how do we tell about the past and who gets to tell it?” Lindsey Drager writes for the Michigan Quarterly Review about memory and storytelling.
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” BookRiot did us all a service by finding out the 10 most highlighted passages of (the e-book edition of) Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale. You must also read our own Edan Lepucki on reading and re-reading Atwood.